Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Capturing Cole can’t cure all ills at Anfield

Robert Fenton

Joe Cole is off to Anfield and suddenly all is well with the world as far as Liverpool fans are concerned.

The depression brought about by last season’s failure to qualify for the Champions League is in the bin of history and hope springs anew.

Nothing wrong with optimism, but an injury-prone Cole proving to be the saviour to one half of Scouseland, will take some convincing.

The fact that Arsenal and Tottenham backed off from signing Cole and his failure to get into a poor England side during the World Cup, is hardly the stuff of inspiration.

At least Cole wearing the Anfield red seems to have persuaded the iconic Steven Gerrard not to jump ship and if Fernando Torres also stays — he is 1-3 to do so — then there is no reason why they cannot at least improve on last year’s seventh spot in the Premier League.

It’s a fair start however, to boss Roy Hodgson’s new career in getting the player on a ‘free’ and if Roy’s achievements with Fulham are a guide, then Liverpudlians have good cause for greater expectations this time around, in the form of a trophy of some sort. It is 5-2 for them to do so.

Punters will not be breaking down any doors for Premier League honours (12-1), but William Hill’s 2-1 that the Reds finish in the top four, while on the face of it a bit skinny, is certainly a lot better than the miserly 11-8 quote from rivals. Give that latter price the elbow in no uncertain terms.

Hodgson will be hoping to see Cole grab his share of goals alongside Gerrard and those who have faith in the ex-Cheslea man bagging eight or more, can have evens with Coral while those who take a different view, should migrate towards the 11-10 to hit four or fewer in his first season at Anfield.

Whether Liverpool can help re-launch Cole’s England career remains to be seen and the east Londoner is 2-1 to be in the team for the opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on September 3.

In the face of Fabio Capello’s ghastly flops, anyone turning up with a pair of boots would probably rate consideration. And the fact that Capello will want to in

troduce change and quickly, there is every possibility that Cole will be in the line-up as he is blameless for the South African debacle.

So that 2-1 is not a bad shout, but 40-1 to win the PFA ‘Player of the Year’ is something not to waste money on.

Tote make Cole 5-6 to start 28 or more league matches, but in view of his injury history it may be better to go the other side of that particular coin.

On the other hand, if you believe that his injury problems will not re-emerge, then he will be certain to surpass that.

Fulham are 13-2 to finish above Liverpool and 9-2 to win more home games than the Reds.

Joe Cole Specials (Ladbrokes): 6-4 to score v West Ham in league; 2-1 to score v Chelsea in league.

Will Liverpool finish in top four: 2-1 yes; 4-11 no.

Cole Premier League starts (Totesport): 5-6 27 or fewer; 5-6 28 or more;

Cole specials: 5-1 to score against both West Ham and Chelsea in league; 40-1 to be named PFA Player of the Year.

Cole league goals (Bet 365): 11-10 four or fewer; 4-6 five or more.

League goals against Chelsea: 1-3 none; 4-1 one; 13-2 two or more.

League goals match bet (Coral): 8-15 F Lampard and Y Benayoun v 11-8 J Cole and S Gerrard; 14-1 a tie.

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